NEW YORK (CBS) -- Most preschoolers with food allergies still have serious reactions despite their parents' best efforts to protect their children. A new study in Pediatrics finds more than 70 percent of participants have a reaction at a rate of about one per year.
Little Bari Holden was just a baby when her mom gave her yogurt for the first time. Mom Briana Holden says, "As soon as I gave it to her, she broke out, head to toe. Hives everywhere."
Bari was allergic to the milk in yogurt as well as soy, nuts and eggs. A new study finds more than 70 percent of preschoolers who have food allergies still experience reactions to the foods they are supposed to avoid.
Holden says, "There have been times when Bari has broken out in one small hive and we say, oh, there may have been something she ate we didn't know what it was."
Researchers say misreading ingredient labels and cross-contamination are two of the biggest problems. The study's authors also noted that half of the reactions happened when someone other than the parents was watching the child.
Dr. Scott Sicherer, study author with Mount Sinai Medical Center says, "The lesson there is we to talk to the parents to make sure that everyone who takes care of the child understands all the nuances of how to successfully avoid the food."
Epinephrine is used to treat severe allergic reactions, but the study found that parents and caregivers gave it to children only about 30 percent of the time.
Sicherer says, "It's really better if you're in doubt to go ahead and inject it. You're not hurting anyone if they didn't really have to have it but you could save a life."
Bari 's mom makes sure she always has her epi-pen with her just in case. She says, "I feel like when the time comes in a situation like that there would be nothing that would stop me from saving the life of my child."
Bari has outgrown her milk and egg allergies, but she will always have to be careful about what food she eats.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling in the throat, fainting and nausea. Doctors say when in doubt regarding a food reaction, parents should give the epinephrine.